So many books, so little time.

Illustration by Mary Crooks
  • Audience versions of this page: Family

    On April 23, 1995, UNESCO first celebrated World Book Day. On this day, the UN encourages people, “and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and to gain a renewed respect for the extraordinary contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.”
     
    World Book Day had its start in Spain. April 23 was the day on which Miguel de Cervantes, the great Spanish author of Don Quixote and other books and plays, died in 1616. On this day, Spanish booksellers in the region of Catalonia gave roses to each customer who bought a book.
     
    Today, World Book Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries. Spain still honors Cervantes with a Don Quixote “read-a-thon.” In the United Kingdom, authors and booksellers make special books available for children with “book tokens.” These World Book Day Books may include a special edition of Winnie the Pooh, an issue of the “Horrible Histories” series, or a story by British author Neil Gaiman. Around the world, books take many different forms—in Africa, more students read books on their smartphones than on paper.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    author Noun

    person who writes.

    celebrate Verb

    to observe or mark an important event with public and private ceremonies or festivities.

    customer Noun

    consumer, or someone who buys something.

    encourage Verb

    to inspire or support a person or idea.

    extraordinary Adjective

    unusual or uncommon.

    smartphone Noun

    mobile telephone with additional features, such as a web browser or music playing device.

    token Noun

    material, usually similar to a coin, that may be exchanged for specific goods or services.

    UNESCO Noun

    the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

    Encyclopedic Entry: UNESCO